Monday 10 August 2009

Donald Trelford: Dismay over threat to close Observer should be a warning to Guardian

Former Observer editor Donald Trelford in the Independent today warns the Guardian that it faces a public backlash if his old paper is closed.
Trelford writes: "Last week's loudly expressed public dismay at the threat to The Observer should be a warning to The Guardian of the obloquy it would face – and the permanent stain on its liberal reputation – if, after 218 years, it were to remove the world's oldest Sunday paper from our national conversation.
"The Scott Trust's holy writ – its Clause 4 if you like – is its commitment to protect The Guardian "in perpetuity." That seems to mean that, in the last resort, The Observer would have to be sacrificed in the event of a conflict between the two. That never came up in 1993. And one can hardly believe that C P Scott, who would have known and admired Garvin's Observer at the time the Trust was created in the 1930s, ever intended that it would be used as an excuse to destroy a much-loved and respected newspaper in the interests of an unknown and unknowable digital future. Maybe The Guardian should note that it was only by getting rid of Clause 4 that Labour began to prosper."

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